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Author Topic: Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)  (Read 6540 times)

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Offline Merlin

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Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
« on: October 03, 2006, 04:16:58 PM »
Been reading alot about Cat's Claw and its supposed benefits in boosting the immune sytem and increasing T-cells. Anyone who has been seriously taking it, care to share his/her experience. Thanks.

Blessed Be !


PS: I'm not requesting for more commercial/clinical info which I have already checked up on, but actual personal feedback on taking the herb and its efficacy or lack of it.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 05:22:16 PM by Merlin »
I'll leave Hatred to those not strong enough to Love.


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I forgive them for everything.

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Offline alisenjafi

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Re: Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 05:10:49 PM »
I talked with a nutritionist at GMHC she said with my t cells and  vl I am doing more than enough and really don't need any more things to take. But here is some info:


What Is It?

Cat's claw, also known as uņa de gato (its Spanish name), is a high-climbing, woody vine that grows profusely in the upper Amazon regions of Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, and other South American countries. At the base of the plant's leaves are two curved thorns that resemble the claws of a cat (hence its name); these allow the vine to climb up trees and other vegetation into the forest canopy. The Herb's botanical name, Uncaria, is from the Latin uncus, for "hook."

Two species of cat's claw are harvested for medicinal purposes, Uncaria guianensis, used mainly in Europe, and Uncaria tomentosa, commonly imported into the United States. Among the herbal practitioners of South America, the two species are considered interchangeable.

For hundreds of years, people in the Amazon basin have used cat's claw to treat a broad range of ailments, ranging from cancer, arthritis, and stomach and liver disorders to skin conditions and even contraception. Traditionally, the herb's primary medicinal form has been a decoction, or crude Extract, prepared by boiling the inner bark of the stem and parts of the root.

Scientific interest in cat's claw centers on the plant's immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. There is early and speculative evidence that cat's claw may have antiviral and cancer-fighting potential as well.

In recent years researchers have identified two separate subspecies of U. tomentosa, which have important differences in their chemical properties. One contains mainly pentacylic alkaloids, substances responsible for the most well-researched effect of cat's claw, namely immune stimulation. The other type of U. tomentosa contains tetracylic alkaloids, which affect the brain and central nervous system and actually counteract the immune-stimulating effects of the pentacylic group.

Health Benefits

In the mid-1990s, once it became known that cat's claw had potential value for the treatment of serious conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and even HIV infections, it became one of the top-selling herbs in the United States. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm was not backed up by much clinical evidence. Very few well-designed clinical trials with human subjects have been done on cat's claw, but some laboratory and animal studies have been conducted.

Most of the anecdotal evidence (word of mouth only) indicates that it may help to improve inflammatory problems such as osteoarthritis (OA) and prostatitis, immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and situations in which a stronger immune system is desired, such as cancer and HIV. On the other hand, some herbal researchers also point out that long-term use of cat's claw might overstimulate the immune system and do more harm than good for some of these conditions.

According to a 2001 article in Alternative Medicine Review, cat's claw also warrants further research because of the worldwide concern over viral diseases. Although these areas have not been fully explored, some experts believe that cat's claw may eventually have potential in fighting chronic viral infections such as AIDS, and also in combating cancer and immune-related conditions associated with aging.

Specifically, cat's claw may help to:

Reduce Inflammation. In several laboratory experiments, cat's claw has been shown to demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects; few clinical studies of these properties have been conducted, however. One small four-week trial, reported in the 2001 Inflammation Research journal, found that 30 people with OA of the knee had significant relief from pain during daily activities but no easing of nighttime pain or pain during rest; the control group had no pain relief at all. A number of other inflammatory conditions are also being investigated in association with cat's claw, including allergies and asthma, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis.
Support cancer therapy. In Germany and Austria, standardized extracts of cat's claw, available by prescription only, are given to some cancer patients under a doctor's care. As an immune-boosting agent, cat's claw may strengthen the general health of people undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other treatments for cancer, although this effect has not been thoroughly proven. It is not known whether forms other than standardized extracts would be beneficial for cancer patients.
Dosage Information

Special tips:
--In Germany and Austria, the Standardized extract of cat's claw is available only by physician's prescription, and it is used almost solely to stimulate a patient's immune system. Recently, the Austrian product, known as Immodal, was sold to a U.S. supplement manufacturer and is available under the brand name Saventaro. The root bark and stem are imported from South America and manufactured according to Austrian standards.

--Purchase only products that label the plant's species as Uncaria tomentosa. A common plant found in the American Southwest, acacia greggi, is also called cat's claw, but it is highly toxic. Some unscrupulous marketers try to pass it off as the real thing.

--Look for products certified to contain only the pentacylic form of Uncaria tomentosa. The standardized extract (sold under the brand name Saventaro) contains a minimum of 1.3% pentacylic oxindole alkaloids (POAs) and is free of tetracylic oxindole alkaloids (TOAs).

For osteoarthritis: Take 1 capsule or 15-30 drops of liquid extract twice a day.
For cancer support: Take 1 capsule 3 times a day for the first 10 days, and 1 capsule daily thereafter.
Guidelines for Use

Take cat's claw between meals.
General Interaction

If you are taking high blood pressure medication, cat's claw can increase its action, which can be dangerous.
Possible Side Effects

Mild nausea may occur if you take a crude extract or use cat's claw tea.
There have been no reports of toxicity when cat's claw is taken at recommended dosages. However high doses may cause diarrhea, bleeding gums, excessive bruising, and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Never take cat's claw if you are pregnant, lactating, or are even considering pregnancy. It may bring on a spontaneous miscarriage.
Do not take cat's claw if you have high blood pressure.
Some, but not all, herbalists recommend against using the herb in any condition which may be adversely affected by an overstimulating the immune system. These might include autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or multiple sclerosis.
Avoid cat's claw if you have had, or are scheduled to have, an organ or tissue transplant.

Ailments   Dosage
Lyme Disease   
Take 1 capsule or 15-30 drops of liquid extract twice a day.

Date Published: 4/19/2005
Date Reviewed: 9/14/2005
« Last Edit: October 03, 2006, 05:13:52 PM by alisenjafi »
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Offline Merlin

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  • As My WILL, So MOTE It Be !
Re: Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2006, 05:25:48 PM »
Thanks for the info alisenjafi, but I'm requesting for personal feedback on consumption to validate if the claims of Cat's Claw are possibly true. Thanks anyways. Appreciate the prompt response.

Blessed Be !

I'll leave Hatred to those not strong enough to Love.


Believe & The Power Of The Mind Transforms.
Make It Happen...


I blame them for nothing.
I forgive them for everything.

---->> Mary J. Blige on dysfuctional parents

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2007, 11:56:57 PM »
Hi Michael
I was just browsing through some old nutrition posts when I came across this one. I'm not sure if you're still interested or not in this topic but I thought I'd share what I know with you anyway, in case you are.

I was taking Cats Claw for a short time 2-3 months ago (1000mg daily, if memory serves me). However, when I consulted with a nutritionist about my supplement program, she advised me to stop with the Cats Claw, or at least consult with a fully licensed herbalist before embarking on it. She also advised me to stop taking echinecea on a daily basis. She explained that some studies have shown that, although these herbs are indeed good for boosting the immune system, overuse can in fact over-stimulate the immune system, which is not a good thing for people with hiv. She also explained - and I have actually read about this elsewhere, though I can't recall where right now - that Cats Claw is actually a very rare plant. Where it is found, the natives are very aware of its healing properties, therefore (if I remember correctly) harvesting and exporting of it is very controlled and limited. In other words, a lot of the Cats Claw products found on chemist/shop shelves worldwide is not the real macoy.

My nutritionist seems pretty well informed and is not one for pushing unnecessary products on her clients for extra cash; the opposite in fact. This is one reason I chose to trust her judgement.

So, although I can't say that I have any personal feedback on whether Cats Claw works or not, I can share this with you and leave it with you to research and see what you make of it.

Yeia kai hara! (Greek for health and happiness)

Melia :) 
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Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!


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